Bilateral amputee hopes to help those with disabilities
One Joliet Junior College student is determined to improve the quality of life for those that have lost extremities, just like him.
Ben Reynolds is a bilateral amputee enrolled in JJC’s orthotics and prosthetics technician program.
Reynolds, born and raised in Bloomington, first became interested in the OPT field during his time at Shriners Hospitals for Children in St. Louis. As a patient himself, he was able to see how orthotics and prosthetics were fabricated and fit.
After working in other industries, Reynolds decided to try something new and help other people. During his junior year at a four-year university, he came across JJC’s OPT program.
Reynolds never liked sitting in a lecture hall so the JJC program was a perfect fit. Now he receives hands-on learning in a lab setting. He’s also very involved in the JJC Orthotics and Prosthetics Association.
He hopes to be hired by an orthotics and prosthetics practice where he’s able to interact with the patients while building their devices.
“You’d be surprised how something like a prosthetic or orthotic device has an almost unlimited amount of potential to change someone’s life," Reynolds said in a news release from JJC. "The look and emotion that radiates off people is palpable and indescribable.”
Mike Brncick, OPT professor at JJC, said that Reynolds is a wonderful student to have in the program.
Reynolds doesn’t want to be thought of as “disabled.” Although he lost both feet to a birth defect called fibular hemimelia, a condition in which a part of or the whole fibula bone is missing, he doesn’t want that to slow him down.
Reynolds said that he’s had the obvious difficulties that come with being a bilateral amputee, but he was also able to play sports and have a normal childhood. As he grew older, reality started to sink in that he wasn’t able to walk. Now he’s able to push those thoughts away and strives for a future where anyone with a disability can live a normal life.